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model of space shuttle in water chamber with lasers around model
Fluid Mechanics Laboratory at NASA’s Ames Research Center Studies the Air Flow Around Model of Space Shuttle.
NASA / Suzanne Cisneros

The discipline of experimental aero-physics focuses on the experimental analysis of flight dynamics.  At NASA Ames Research Center, this type of experimental analysis relies on advanced testing facilities and instrumentation techniques associated with specialized wind tunnels, a water channel, and a pipe flow facility.  In addition, this analysis includes acoustics measurements that can be obtained through an anechoic chamber.  Advanced instrumentation techniques such as Flight (Air) Background Oriented Schlieren (AirBOS) and Pressure Sensitive Paint (PSP) enable detailed evaluations of aerodynamic flight characteristics.  These techniques have been applied to areas such as aerodynamic flow control, parachute development, wingtip vortex characterization and rotor blade thermography for numerous NASA aeronautics and space programs.

For more information, visit the Fluid Mechanics Lab.